A Federal High Court in Abuja has extended the December 15 interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from taking any action against the 26 Rivers House of Assembly members who defected to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Donatus Okorowo extended the order following an application by, Steve Adehi, who represented the embattled lawmakers.
Although the application was opposed by PDP’s lawyer, Adeyemi Ajibade, SAN, Justice Okorowo agreed that based on Order 26, Rule 10 of the FHC, the court had the discretionary power to grant the plea in the interest of justice.
The judge held that he was persuaded by the reasons given by Adehi and Ken Njemanze, SAN, who represented the Rivers House of Assembly, that granting the order would be better in the interest of justice.
Justice Okorowo, while adjourning the matter to January 24 for hearing of the applications, granted application for the extension of the order of the lifespan of the ex-parte order pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice.
Justice Okorowo had, on Dec. 15, granted the ex-parte motion filed by the 26 lawmakers who dumped PDP for APC.
In the motion, the court restrained INEC from conducting fresh election to fill the seats of the 26 assembly members.
It also restrained INEC, PDP and the house of assembly from declaring their seats vacant and withdrawing their respective Certificate of Returns pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
The plaintiffs had, in the motion ex-parte, sued INEC, PDP, the assembly, clerk of the assembly, Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and Department of State Service (DSS) as 1st to 6th defendants respectively.